The company GoSt-Barefoots send me a pair of their new shoes to test out. This is a new product in the category “barefoot” or “minimalist” shoes. This product is different from others like Vibram Five Finger shoes, because it’s hard to even call it a shoe. It’s more like a steel sock.
The Paleos are made of chainmail: small interlocking stainless steel rings, which form a fine mesh to protect your feet. The weight of the model tested, Paleos Anterra, is about 240g per shoe. That’s close to the weight of a minimalist shoe such as the New Balance Minimus 10, which are 213g. For this weight however, you do not get a sole.
The top of the Paleos have a lacing system with an elastic lace that you can tighten behind your heel. The model is made to the shape of your foot, leaving enough space for your toes and hugging your mid foot. They come with a neoprene sleeve to be used for running, which leaves your soles exposed but protects the top of your feet and ankles.
The Paleos provide what they promise: a barefoot feel. Although the mesh protects from sharp objects, it maintains a very direct ground feel. This means that every loose stone and rock is felt. During trail runs in the mountains I felt constant attention was needed to avoid stones of 1cm diameter and larger, to avoid getting my feet beat up. A shoe like this requires a forefoot or mid-foot stride because it has zero drop and zero dampening. As a non-minimalist runner you will start feeling sore calves more quickly until you are used to this running technique.
The chainmail material provides an extra feel, it almost massages your foot during walking and running. It doesn’t hug your feet tightly, therefor during a run there’s a quite a bit of movement of the material over your toes and mid foot, which may start to irritate the skin on longer runs. My first impression is that the Paleos are especially well suited for training runs, to strengthen your feet, and for adventurous hiking.
See below video of the unboxing and a test run in Ethiopia:
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with GoSt-Barefoot in any way. The company sent me a pair of Paleos® on loan to test out and provide feedback. Jurgen Hulst.
The GPS trail of the test run: